If you weren’t Mormon, you’d be….

The other day, driving to the accursed OfficeMax (NEVER shop at OfficeMax, folks — NEVER!), we passed by Mars Hill Church, a hipster congregation that nonetheless produces some real social activism. I commented to Sumer that if I weren’t a Mormon, I could see myself attending a congregation like that. On the other hand, I remarked, I could also see myself as Catholic — very European, with a profound history, systematic theology, and the Apostolic See.

Sumer had a different take.

She replied, “I’d convert to Judaism.” When that got an eyebrow raise, she continued, “they seem very family-focused. And everyone knows Jewish men are the most romantic.”

With that, the minivan cruised past Mars Hill Church and continued to OfficeMax. Hence this poll, out of nothing more than idle curiosity. If you weren’t Mormon, what denomination would you be?

NOTE: the LDS Church is the stone cut without hands which filled the whole Earth. It’s not going away. But sometimes people just need a poll.



  1. S.P. Bailey says:

    Judaism is not an option in the poll … I think that’s where I’d be. Maybe Catholic.

  2. Lutheran.

    Best Christmas Program ever. The WHOLE congregations
    sings, we shake hands, we kneel, in other words, the
    whole congregation participates in the service
    and…. coffee is a big part of Lutheran
    culture. Man on man, I would love to have a bible
    study over coffee and pastries.

    I love mid-western Lutherans! They are humble, simiple folk, with a great sense of humor…that’s why I married one!

  3. I’d totally be Hindu because it’s the only other religion I know of that encompasses both premortal and postmortal life, and eternal progression. Specifically, I’d follow the path of bhakti or devotional yoga.

  4. frak, judaism isn’t there. ok, gimme a minute…

  5. Catholic, no doubt. A lot of the ways that Mormonism deviates from 19th-century Evangelical Christianity are in the direction of Catholicism.

  6. you also left off Unitarian-Universalist.

  7. smb, I also left off Assemblies of God, Campbellites, Zoroastrians, Jains, etc….. that “Other” is a big OTHER.

  8. Judaism’s now been added as an option. SP, I added your vote.

  9. you also left off Klingon.

    Catholicism has such wonderful intellectuals (chesterton in 19th century, the American Catholic writers in the 20th) and is so vast that I think one could find space for exceedingly liberal Catholics. Plus you can’t argue with the Vatican.

  10. Steve, UU is actually a known and reasonable path for formons (I can think of several), which is why I thought it should be added. Klingon I will admit is fringe, but they actually do have a religious system, as bizarre as it is/sounds.

  11. okey-doke, I’ll add it.

  12. Come on Hindu! Maybe if you gave us a better poster child? Buddy is cool but he’s soooooooooo 40s. :-P

  13. Hey Tatiana, JD Salinger is about as cool as it gets.

  14. I would be a Jedi, definitely a jedi.

  15. cantinflas says:

    I choose a combination of other/lazy. I wouldn’t be an atheist. For me that would just be irresponsible.

    I’d probably attend weekly services at whichever lake I wanted to be playing on that Sunday.

  16. According to this site, Christopher Reeve was a Unitarian Universalist.

  17. Bev, his spiritual path was a complex one. He was presbyterian most of his life. Look to Jimmy Stewart if you want an alternative Presbyterian.

  18. Episcopalian – high church liturgy refined to British sensibilities, and easily the best church choirs.

    Otherwise, Buddhism is the only system I know of that comes close to matching Mormonism in the richness and depth of the preexistence and afterlife theology.

  19. IMPORTANT CORRECTION: what the wife really said was “they have a rich tradition, and better holidays.”

  20. I’d be a Rastafarian. Reggae for my hymns and ganja for my sacrament — what more could I want?

  21. It hurts my feelings to have agnosticism linked with laziness. I intend to write a strongly-worded comment, but I just don’t have the energy…


  22. Steve,

    You would join an evangelical church if not LDS? That surprises me a bit.

  23. I would definitely look at becoming Swedenborgian.

  24. bbell, Mars Hill isn’t evangelical in any real aggressive way. Like I said, it caters to hipsters and has a strong bent towards service and public charity. I can get behind those elements, at least. I think you’re right that a straight-up evangelical organization would turn me off.

  25. Any religion that isn’t pathetically trying to be “hip.”

  26. Melissa De Leon Mason says:

    I’d probably revert back to Catholicism since Catholic Social Teaching rocks my world. But if they didn’t take me back, definitely Jedi. Or anything else that let me wear a cloak and a hood.

  27. Last Lemming says:

    Definitely a Jehovah’s Witness like Eisenhower. You know, join the Army, run for office..stuff like that.

  28. This reminded me of that “From the mouth of babes video” which my wife has hidden in our closet because our daughter was watching it 10 times every sunday.

    Interviewr: “If you weren’t a mormon what would you be?”

    Child: “A Mexican.”

  29. It’s worth noting that Mark Driscoll, main pastor of Mars Hill, is a Calvinist! ;-)


  30. Anglican like CS Lewis

  31. Kevin Barney says:

    I might sample different religions now and then out of cultural and academic interest, but I would probably be an atheist. (I don’t think atheists are necessarily lazy, but since I consider myself pretty lazy I don’t object to the linkage.)

    If I weren’t going to be an atheist, Judaism or some form of high church Christianity would appeal to me.

  32. All of the above.

  33. njensen-I met my first Swedeborgian the other day. She was explaining the intricacies of the afterlife and for the first time I thought, “huh, this is wackier than Mormonism”

    I think I”d be a hopeful agnostic (can’t be sure but hope there’s a God) that flitted around to different churches for holidays, music and potlucks.

  34. Steve,

    Almost all of the local evangelical churches in my town in TX have strong charity and public service programs. They also cater to affluent “hip” people since that is who lives in my town.

    Sometimes I think the common impression of those who do not know many evangelicals is in many cases an unfortunate “straw man”.

    Carry on…. interesting post

  35. Melissa, me too. If you blaze the Jedi path, can Taryn and I be your apprentices?

  36. Kevin Barney says:

    I posted my comment before actually voting and looking at the results, and it appears that my inclincations are also the majority inclinations from those voting. Why is that? Here are some possibilities:

    1. If we can’t relate to God adequately through this faith tradition that we love, then maybe God just plain doesn’t exist. I confess to having naturalistic tendencies that would be easier to deal with if I just chucked theism altogether.

    2. The Judaism option reflects the fundamental phil-Semitism of Mormonism. In many ways we’re closer to Jews than to other Christians.

    3. The Catholic option reflects the fact the Orson Whitney “Strength of the Mormon Position” argument (reflected, for example, in A Marvelous Work and a Wonder), which is that if you believe in the need for religious authority, it’s gotta be either the Catholics (uninterrupted authority) or the Mormons (restored authority). Protestants are what evidence lawyers like to call fruit of the poisonous tree; if the Catholic Church lacks authority, whence comes authority for Protestants? (They would deny that authority in this sense is necessary.)

  37. “I confess to having naturalistic tendencies…”

    R-Rated Movies ====> no God, eh Kev? I’m with ya.

  38. …dead

  39. In many ways we’re closer to Jews than to other Christians.

    I’ve heard this argument a lot of times, and I have to confess that I can’t quite figure it out. Lots of other Christian groups draw on Old Testament ideas like we do. For example, the Seventh-Day Adventists take seriously important parts of the Law of Moses that we disregard. The SDA have also had a latter-day prophet. Other similar groups exist. Why would we consider ourselves closer to the Jews than these other Old-Testament-loving Christian groups?

  40. Steve,
    I always knew you were a hipster.

  41. Latter-day Guy says:

    Easy: Catholic. (But with Orthodox leanings, because right now I’m LDS with Catholic/Orthodox leanings. I think it’s a crime that our church does not adopt some of the great liturgical traditions from these faiths. I will certainly try to do so in a domestic setting with my family.)

  42. Kevin Barney says:

    Mormons have a much heavier OT focus than most other Christians. We consider ourselves a part of Israel. We are a people of (claimed) tribal lineage, we are a people of physical, sacred space. We don’t go as far as Messianic Jews, but at least we’re upfront about being Christians.

    I think a lot of the affinity for Judaism is cultural. If you’ve ever been to a Jewish service, it is more like a Mormon one–very family-oriented and, depending on the service, boisterous and loud (not a can hear a pin drop cathedral type of service at all). Family is at the center of all.

    A lot of Joseph’s restorationist innovations restored institutions that were OT-based, such as priesthood and temples and, yes, even polygamy.

    You may find interesting my “A Tale of Two Restorations,” a paper I delivered to the first FAIR Conference in 1999, in which I compared and contrasted two different approaches to restorationism, that of Alexander Campbell and that of Joseph Smith. Joseph’s was much more OT-centric.

  43. Some days I think my inability to figure this out is the only thing still keeping me Mormon.

  44. Judaism.

    For one thing, they still have a living covenant with God.

  45. Melissa De Leon Mason says:

    JNS & Taryn,
    Welcome, my young Padawan learners.

  46. JNS & Taryn, be aware there’s a Sith Lord out there. He only wants one of you to join with him and rule over the Republic[ans].

  47. Matt Thurston says:

    I’d definitely lean towards religions with a non-hierarchical structure and an emphasis on peace, love, understanding, friendship, service, etc. and not on religions that are fundamentalist or emphasize orthodox doctrine or creed. I’d want a religion with one foot firmly rooted in logic/reason, and the other foot rooted in the mystical (with a wide latitude to translate those spiritual experiences for oneself). So I guess I’d be interested in Unitarian/Universalist or the Society of Friends (Quaker).

    If not that, then something Eastern like Buddhism.

  48. Aaron Brown says:

    What about a Mormon fundamentalist, polygamous sect, a la Warren Jeffs? What about RLDS?

  49. It took me 13 years to go from questioning Mormon to agnostic. I’m quite content here.

  50. Mark IV says:

    How would you characterize Joseph Smith Sr.’s approach to religion? Hopeful skeptic, maybe?

    Whatever it was, that is probably what I would be.

  51. Starfoxy says:

    I’d go for Buddhism. Instead of Choosing the Right, I’d choose the Middle.

  52. JNS, I don’t think people mean we’re closer to Jews than other Christians are. I think they mean we’re closer to Jews than we are other Christians. But maybe I’m wrong. Lack of sleep makes my brain mush.

    I’d probably go back to Lutheranism. OK, not really.

  53. Almost certainly some kind of Lutheran. And moreover, given my personality and interests, if I were Lutheran, I quite possibly might have gone into the ministry. I could easily see myself standing up, Sunday after Sunday, giving a sermon. It’d be like blogging.

  54. molly bennion says:

    Good exercise reminding me I have even more doctrinal and cultural problems with other religions than I have with Mormonism. I sometimes need to be reminded. So, if I were not Mormon, I would find a Christian church with a superb scholar/orator pastor and good music and attend frequently, spend my compassionate service time and money with any number of religious and secular groups and play golf on Sundays. Golf is a spiritual experience.

  55. Joseph Smith’s initial position …

    though my feelings were deep and often poignant, still I kept myself aloof from all these parties (JSH 1:8)

  56. I think I would be a Messianic Jew. I have a great affinity for the Old Testament; somehow it speaks to me more than any of the other standard works. I also have begun to (sort of) observe some Jewish holidays. However, I definitely would want a religion that believes in Jesus Christ as the Savior.

  57. The only attractive one on the list for me is Unitarian/Univeralist. I wouldn’t want to consign my belief in the Savior, and the UU Church seems to be the most non-hierarchical.

  58. Mark, people write a lot about Joseph Sr. and the unchurched. He was a part of the Universalist society, generally considered a veiled deist attack on good Christianity. I think most people would characterize him as part of anti-authoritarian folk Christianity on the eve of the Second Great Awakening. There’s a lot of overlap with Christian primitivism as well. I’m not sure I’ve got the stomach for true folk religion as a personal faithwalk (though I love to study it).

  59. Steve Evans says:

    Molly, if you think golf is a spiritual experience, I’m looking for a good pastor.

  60. I’ve heard too many stories about Unitarians and how little they believe. A few good friends of mind grew up Unitarian. One of them told me she was in Sunday School as a child and she asked the teacher “Is there a God?” Instead of providing a definitive answer the teacher simply responded with another question: “What do you think?” This friend told me there was basically no intention or capability on the part of her leaders to grant her any certainty about what her beliefs should be.

    But that’s just my take on it. I’m not begrudging or criticizing those who have stated that is their preference.

  61. Well, I was some of those other things before I became Mormon.

    I liked some of the more intellectually inclined churches in the evangelical Protestant spectrum, but I was turned off by the “if you don’t believe the right way or you’re going to hell” sort of thinking that’s too common. I certainly didn’t care for those that were politically oriented. Politics aside, I kind of liked the Tony Campolo or Jim Wallis sort of evangelical, but they’re hard to come by in real life. These days, many of the evangelical churches have gone to a “feel good” theology, which isn’t bad in itself, but their music and sermons lack much substance.

    A couple of my favorite churches were mainline Protestant. I appreciated their willingness to find truth in other ways of belief, but I also found them wishy-washy in terms of believing much of anything concrete at times.

    So LDS seemed like a reasonable compromise. :) I can’t say I’ve ever regretted the decision, even if the church seems culturally stuck at times in the 1960s, which is something most other churches haven’t done.

  62. greenfrog says:

    Easy question: Buddhist (mostly — throw in a touch of yoga, and I’d be there).

    But there’s a reasonable argument that I already am. (for more detail see blog)

  63. That’s easy- Universal Life Church. I’m already an ordained ULC minister!! (Gotta have a back-up, right?) :-)

  64. Steve, it is strange that you would profess an inclination towards the non-denom hipster church but not list it as a choice. Actually it is strange that non-denom evangelicalism does not make the list. Well perhaps not so strange given the strong aversion many Mormons have to it.

    Yet there are some aspects I like about non-denom evangelical churches. Not the in your face ones, but the ones that seem earthy and cater to hipsters as you say.

  65. I don’t like seeing laziness clumped together w/ atheism or agnosticism. In my experience, people who adhere to atheism or agnosticism have arrived there through much study, consideration and personal experience.

    Many self-described atheists tend toward secular philosophies such as humanism, rationalism, and naturalism; which they actively follow.

    Again, in my experience, Agnostics claim ~ honestly ~ either that it is not possible to have absolute or certain knowledge of God or gods; they tend to be healthily skeptical w/o being cynical.

    I lived several years of my life claiming to have certain knowledge of particular “truths” which, once I closely examined those “truths”, I found them, really, to be more grounded on hope.

    I find it admirable when one can (as many of my atheist/agnostic friend have) live authenically, with eyes wide open, without fear of acknowledging ones doubts. For me, it is a clear path to truth…whatever that truth may be.

  66. Steve Evans says:

    Katie, you’re right, I guess you could slip those non-denoms somewhere between the various categories, or if all else fails just put it with the Other.

  67. Kevin Barney says:

    Although my first alternative is to be an atheist, and although there are things about that viewpoint I find appealing, here is why I sincerely doubt I’ll ever make that leap:

    Being an atheist is easy when all you’re doing is pondering some specific bit of dogma, such as whether Jesus was the son of God or atoned for our sins or was resurrected, or whether Moroni visited the young Joseph, who translated an historical BoM by the gift and power of God.

    For me, where the rubber hits the road is with death. I simply don’t have the mental capacity to comprehend nonexistence. And when a loved one dies, I cannot deal with so great a loss without the faith and hope that it is a temporary separation only.

    I fully realize this may just be the weakness of my puny human mind, a defense mechanism to get me to get out of bed each day and not fall into a debilitating depression over the meaninglessness of it all.

    But I choose to embrace faith instead. Even if I’m wrong in my faith, my life is much happier and richer with it than it would be without it.

  68. There is SO MUCH good stuff out there. I loves me a good Catholic mass. I like the Methodist church a LOT (Methodists sing a lot). I am a Buddhist at heart, but can’t seem to get it together to meditate.

    But even when I was actively thinking about joining another church, I found it MUCH easier just to hang out at home.

    I guess I’m looking for a “dabbler” option.

  69. If I couldn’t be Mormon I would engage in a very frustrating search for the one true church. Kind of like they used to do in the dark ages.

  70. #65 seems to have a strong bias against lazy people, and if I weren’t busy watching television right now I’d have a lot more to say about that.

    I’d prefer not to see myself and my fellow slackers lumped in with the atheists and agnostics. The majority of us lazy people are passive believers and as such we don’t like being thrown in with people who are ‘actively’ serving or promoting a system of unbelief.

    Okay … the commercial is over. Seeya.

  71. The idea of being JW like Eisenhower rather than being JW like Michael Jackson is interesting.
    I would be Quaker (John Woolman variety) and Jewish (like Jesus).
    I think Molly’s experience with golf is inspirational. I can’t quite comprehend it. I think sex is spiritual, or should be. And of course there were denominations in early American history which focused on sex as God’s greatest manifestation. Interestingly, they aren’t around any more. (Which is probably why Steve didn’t mention them–or was that just an oversight?) Nor are the Shakers, who focused on celibacy and so didn’t manage to multiply–though their furniture nas endured quite well.

  72. I’d be Unitarian, because I’m cool like that.

  73. I’m not sure whether you meant it this way or not, but being agnostic and atheist may be very similar, but they shouldn’t be equated to laziness. At least not all of us are lazy, for many of us it’s a calculated choice and/or belief and not having to go to church is just a nice bonus.

    As for your poll, if I weren’t agnostic, I’d probably be Jewish. I love a few aspects of their religion. Especially that they let expect you come to God on your own (without prodding from evangelists, though I mean that in the nicest way possible) and that you don’t even have to believe in God–it’s more about treating people well and having a community of people who take care of each other. At least, that’s how I understand it to be. . .

  74. I would be nothing, if I wasn’t LDS. There is no way I’d do any religion stuff if it wasn’t that I “know the church is true.” I’d much rather spend my Sunday’s at church than bother going to a partially true church just for the fun of it.

  75. I meant to say:
    I’d much rather spend my Sunday’s at HOME than bother going to a partially true church just for the fun of it.

  76. #60: Your comment brought to mind a riddle:

    Q: What do you get when you cross a Unitarian Universalist with a Mormon?

    A: Someone who knocks on your door for no particular reason. :-)

  77. Melanie says:

    I would probably be a Unitarian… believing whatever you want but being a part of a religious community sounds pretty good to me. Some days it still sounds kind of appealing. I do like the ritual of Catholicism though.

  78. because of what I know, because of what I believe, and because of how I see the world around me, there is no other place I could be but here. As I said with my one word comment, “If I wasn’t Mormon, I’d be dead.”

  79. I like Judaism.

  80. Definitely Catholic. I was baptized Catholic as a baby, several years before my parents converted. Because it was the faith of my parents for all of their lives, we also observed many of the Holy Days, went to mass occasionally, gave alms, toured the stations, saw the nativity creche at St. Patrick’s. It’s sort of in my blood.

  81. Steve Evans says:

    Dan (#78), you quitter. If you stop being Mormon when you’re dead, doesn’t that defeat the purpose?

  82. Kevin, I agree that Joseph Smith was much more Old Testament-focused than the Campbellites. But I think that comparison holds less true for some other American Christian groups. The SDA are one good example — indeed better than the Campbellites. Even the Catholics take the Old Testament quite seriously, though, reading from it in every worship service. Many of these groups also see themselves as connected with Israel — typically in the same metaphorical way that we discuss adoption. I guess I see our Old Testament position as making us close to other Christian groups that also take the Old Testament seriously — more than close to Jews.

  83. I’m ever so fond of Catholicism–beautiful rituals, a rich theological tradition. But I don’t think I’d bail out on Mormonism for another patriarchal faith. So I might opt for something like the UCC (United Church of Christ): liberal-ish Christians who haven’t quite morphed into Unitarians.

  84. I’d be a hedonist. Is that a religion? If it isn’t, I’d make it one. Of course, that would take some work, and then I’d be violating the one of the chief tenets of my religion, in that I’d be working.

  85. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Margaret, there are plenty of Shakers left! There were 5, at last count, up in Maine still doing their thing (and still NOT doing that other thing – which is why there are only 5).

  86. A Turtle Named Mack says:

    Whoops! I just double-checked and the Shakers are down to four. Not many religions can lose 20% of their membership so quickly.

  87. Wait a minute, Turtle. How is that possible? They must be apostate shakers–unless they misunderstood what “shaker” meant. (There are other interpretations.) In which case, we should expect some growth. Nights get very cold in Maine.

  88. MikeInWeho says:

    The Shakers were all celibate and had no children, nor did they proselytize (I think). Bad combination in terms of keeping membership up!

  89. MikeInWeho says:

    Here’s the Wiki entry on The Shakers:


    Somebody needs to join up and save them. The furniture alone is worth it.

  90. When I investigated several churches, what helped me realize which church was true was the confirmation of the Spirit. In order to not be LDS, I’d have had to not feel the Spirit’s confirmation. Disregarding spiritual confirmation, my top choice was Wiccan. (But not the dancing-half-naked-in-the-park-to-bad-music type. Guess I’m a loner in this (both the choice of religions and the dancing part.)

  91. It is hard to choose another religion when you have the fullness of the Gospel. You would have to have less knowledge than you have now as a Mormon to make a choice of one of the above religions. They all have their virtues but….

  92. Thomas Parkin says:

    I would probably join a whoredom / sex cult.
    *shrug* I know it sounds awful. But, that was pretty much my church before I came back to this one. I kinda ha(d) a dark side: you’re spooked, I’m sure.

    The reality of that kind of life being what it is, I may have slowly looked for some redemption in the older forms of Christianity – Catholic or Orthodox. Perhaps some kind of modern gnostic variation on those, if I could find one convincing enough / with sufficient symbolic depth. I really like a semi-heretical late Christian mystic, like Jacob Boehme. Maybe I’d have been really lit up by someone like him and have started my own church.

    But, I voted lazy. I don’t _actually_ find religion all that personally compelling. I’m Mormon due to this influence of the Holy Spirit in my life. It’s quite impossible to say what that influence would have lead me to without the church.


  93. In the past, I’ve said that I’d convert to Orthodox Judaism if I wasn’t a Mormon. I am already a member of the Virtual Church of the Blind Chihuahua in addition to being Mormon. On thinking on it now, I’d be thinking about Catholicism (but maybe the old-school Mel Gibson kind, because Latin is cool), Greek Orthodox (because Greek is just cool), Coptic (because Egypt is just way cool), Unitarian (because I like the idea of being what I want to be and having people be okay with it), Pentecostal (because, once you get used to it, it’s a lot more entertaining than anything we do on Sunday), Presbyterian (because they seem to be really nice people), Methodist (because they’re not that different from the Presby’s, and my dad was a Methodist growing up), Islam (because it’s a religion of peace), and smug agnosticism (because I like feeling superior criticising others without having anything open for them to criticise).

    But I don’t think any of that would really work for me. I have a hard enough time sitting around a bunch of worshipping Mormons every week, and I love them and I have a testimony. Without that, I’d probably worship at my computer or DVD player and forget the whole thing. Oh, I might attend the Baptist church right across the street because it’s right across the street, or maybe the Charismatic church that’s at the end of the block, or the United church that’s a block further away, just because they’re close. But the computer is closer and it’s less annoying.

  94. I just skipped a lot of the comments, so forgive me for just jumping in. As someone who previously sipped from many of the cups you allowed in the poll, I have agree with Sumer… I would convert to Judaism. As a matter of fact, had I not found the LDS church, that’s the direction we were headed.

  95. The one difficulty I’d have with Judaism is giving up meat and dairy food combinations (cheeseburgers, meat on pizza, etc.). Also, it could become a challenge to find good kosher Chinese food, Indian food, etc.

    That would be the most major adjustment, I think.

  96. makakona says:

    i voted jewish. amish would be enticing, though. i could SO do amish.

    i’m a recovering cathol. my husband thinks i should have stayed a catholic so he could convert (my conversion was unrelated to him, however). “drink as much as you want, go to church twice a year, don’t get divorced, get into heaven!”

  97. Stephen K says:

    I voted Buddhist but I’d like to retract that now and change it to Church of Bob Saget. For mine eyes have seen the light.


  98. My gut reaction was Catholic, because people have always assumed I was Catholic for years. But in reality I’d be a lapsed Catholic who was always dissing the church (but I’d go a couple times a year and feel really good when I visited all those beautiful cathedrals in Europe), and I’d stay at home or go out and have fun on Sundays, and then occasionally go to the Lutheran church because that’s what my husband and his family is. In the end, I’d sort of wonder what it was all about and just be kind of lazy/agnostic and have fun church shopping here and there, but mostly I’d just not think about it too much.

    Buddhism is interesting and I love the Jewish holidays, but let’s face it … too many hard words to memorize.

  99. I put down Buddhist, but I’m not sure now…

    One of my friends from high school (who was very, very Catholic, until she went to Notre Dame for college) describes herself as an “agnostic spiritualist.” I could see that description working for me.

    This is also the friend who says that organized religion is for people that “aren’t smart enough to think for themselves.” I could kind of see myself feeling this way as well, if I weren’t LDS…

  100. Ditto to everything chanty said.

    I am a very scientifically minded person and associate myself with a lot of other similar people. Although some of those are religious many of them are not and given my general attitude of putting a critical, intellectual eye to everything and anything, I think it would be nearly impossible for me to conclude that any of the religions (Christian or otherwise) were “correct”. I could however, easily imagine myself regularly attended services/activities with any friends who did so in any religion in order to further engage in discussion of their beliefs.

  101. Amish seem to have the sense of family loyalty that we as LDS purport to have. For all the hoopla about eternal families, the Amish walk the walk. Perhaps the lack of keeping up with the “Monsons” in their communities is what brought out immediate forgiveness after the schoolhouse massacre.

  102. I’m picturing the Simpsons episode in which Homer stops going to church and wanders around the back garden with a blissful expression while wearing a bathrobe as animals perch on his shoulder and fingers a la Saint Francis. That’s what I’d go for.

    Barring that, I like transcendetalism / unitarianism a la Emerson and pals.

  103. Re: #63 So am I! I’ve considered using my ULC ordination to open an Elvis wedding chapel…

    UU was about the closest to the way I believed before I had my half dozenth companionship come to the door. I think Deist, like Tom Paine, would have been a better label, as I believed in a higher power that none could discern the nature of. Ironically enough, “The Age of Reason” convinced me that a God actually exists in the first half. I got a few pages into the second half after my last missionary discussion before attending church and felt the Spirit nudge me to take the book back to the library and pick up the BoM instead.

  104. Trueheart says:

    Menonite maybe. I was raised Episcopalian. But I went from there searching for a sense of truth. An impression of truth. I found it in the confirmations of the spirit in my beloved LDS home. My brother also left, went through a longer period of agnostism, and became . . . . wiccan. Mayby if I weren’t LDS, I’d be wiccan. They have great sexual energy in those groves, pagan rites in the woods. Besides, I’d probably really enjoy the drumming around the campfire. Very tempting, if it weren’t for the sickly feeling in the gut that it is so false, and displeasing to G*d.

  105. I just learned last night that, for the past year or so, the Methodist convention of Washington/Baltimore has had, on their payroll, a rabbi. He’s responsible for educating the Methodist membership about Judaism and building bridges, etc. Just for that (the Christian-Jewish crossover), I have to go Methodist. (If Methodism has a good high-church tradition–which I don’t know–that would be a second added bonus. Otherwise, I need some sort of Catholic/Orthodox tie-in, too.)

  106. Nick Literski says:

    Having left the LDS church about 14 months ago, I’ve been somewhat surprised at my spiritual leanings. The rather elaborate structure I’d tried to live by for 26 years basically evaporated, leaving me with a very basic morality. Only three rules really made sense to me anymore: (1) I won’t hide or lie about who I am again; (2) I won’t hurt anyone intentionally; and (3) I want to do some good in the world.

    I had zero interest in christianity—I long felt that if Mormonism wasn’t correct, then christianity as a whole was a crock. Besides that, I no longer could accept the basic ideas of “sin” and “atonement.” I found myself simply believing in personal responsibility, and an obligation to live the best I could. Also, I felt I had to look inside for answers, instead of outside.

    In the course of exploring a number of faiths, one particular approach resonated with these feelings I had, and as I said, I was frankly surprised: Paganism. Not only does Paganism teach the above, but the gods/goddesses can be seen not so much as extant beings, but rather as archetypes–reflections of aspects of ourselves. On the whole, it can be very introspective.

  107. Trueheart, watch Tarkovsky’s Andrei Rublev. Fascinating treatment of paganism/wiccanism (or its prior equivalent) and that sickening feeling.

  108. Nick Literski says:

    Wow…I hadn’t read Trueheart’s comment carefully beyond the Episcopalian part. It seems to me that nobody would wish to adopt a faith which gave them (as an individual) a “sickly feeling” that deity disapproved of their worship.

    Paganism and Wicca see such things as “sexual energy,” dancing, etc. as acts of worship. Indeed, to deity is ascribed the statement, “All acts of pleasure are worship of me.” Granted, this is far from the Puritan ethos of “pleasure = evil,” but Trueheart seems to be suggesting that Pagans and Wiccans “know better” than to worship in the way they choose.

  109. According to wikipedia, Eisenhower was a Presbyterian.

    I left LDS Mormonism for the United Church of Christ (not one of the poll options).

  110. I should have read more carefully. Eisenhower’s mother was a Jehovah’s Witnesses throughout her life. All of the men in his family, including Dwight himself, abandonded the faith in adulthood, and he became a Presbyterian shortly (12 days) after taking office as president.

  111. I put Buddhism because I have always been drawn to the 4 noble truths and 8-fold path (plus the concept of non-attachment and mindfulness), but I’m probably more fascinated by Zoroastrianism. Judeo-Christianity has no idea how much they draw on the teachings of Zarathustra. Also, they have no regular meetings and cool fire ceremonies. But, then again, Wicca have great music, magick and mysterious baebes; so who knows.

  112. StillConfused says:

    I think I would like to join one of those African American churches that rejoice in music. I love music and song of praise and if it has a little soul to it, that is all the better.

  113. Matt Thurston says:

    Well said, Nick #106.

    Amen to chanty in #65.

    Danithew (#60) said, “One of them told me she was in Sunday School as a child and she asked the [UU] teacher “Is there a God?” Instead of providing a definitive answer the teacher simply responded with another question: “What do you think?”

    Actually, I can’t think of a more profound response.

    Danithew continued… “This friend told me there was basically no intention or capability on the part of her leaders to grant her any certainty about what her beliefs should be.”

    Fascinating. This is basically what religion boils down to, isn’t it? The need and comfort of “certainty” in an otherwise uncertain world.

  114. Quaker.

  115. I’d have to go with Unitarian Universalist, since that’s what became of me in my post-Mormonhood, but I really like the Episcopal Church, too. (I sometimes say I’m a Unipalian: creedless ritual!)

  116. MikeInWeho says:

    re: 109-110 That’s what I thought. Quite certainly there has not been a JW president. They don’t participate in politics, do they?

    The Episcopalians are nice enough. Back when I was single I used to attend the local parish (it’s an ersatz homo singles ward in my ‘hood–great place to get a date) and enjoyed the fellowship. I get the feeling, however, that liberal Episcopal congregations are a bit like historical reenactment groups: It’s all about putting on the costumes and parading around. Nobody seems to believe any of it. I say that with the utmost charity, of course……

  117. Nick Literski says:

    This all makes me think of the recent Easter episode of South Park. For those who don’t expose themselves to witty potty-mouthed grade schoolers, the episode was a take-off on The Da Vinci Code, and revealed that Peter, the “first pope,” was in actuality PETER RABBIT. By the end of the episode, “Snowball,” a direct descendant of Peter Rabbit, took his proper seat on the Papal Throne.

    Then came the best part…

    A church official approached Pope Snowball, and asked, “Holy Father, what does God want us to tell the people about how they should live their lives?” Of course, the rabbit said nothing–just sat and twitched its nose. The disturbed church official exclaimed, “He’s not saying anything!” Another nearby priest replied, “Yes, and that’s just how Jesus wanted it.” :-)

  118. If I weren’t Mormon I’d be a Nietzschean I think…

  119. Clark, like from Andromeda?

  120. Nah, like the goofy German.

  121. Quaker, of course.
    Some core Quaker values: Simplicity, Peace, Integrity, Community, Radical Equality, and Sustainability/Care for the Earth.

  122. On my mission, I tracted into a Frisbeeterian. He believed that when you die, you get thrown up onto the roof until Jesus climbs up to get you down. His was by far the best anti-door-approach ever.